Wednesday, 23 September 2009

A Scratchbuild - 1/56th (28mm) RN Aircraft Carrier (Part 1)

After building the Destroyer, I got asked on various forums, what I was going to do with it - the answer is simple:

Use it to escort an aircraft carrier!

I looked at the various options, and the one that really struck a chord was HMS Argus. For those that aren't familiar with it, HMS Argus was originally laid down in 1914 as the Italian Cruise liner Conte Rosso, but was purchased by the Royal Navy, and converted into the first flush deck carrier, being commissioned in September 1918. In the late 1920's, she became a training carrier a role she would still have been in, in 1938, and therefore ideal for my VBCW campaign.

Other plus points are her size - only 560' long, so a mere 10 foot in length, rather than 15 foot (which is how long the larger RN/USN carriers would be). For me, the lack of a big bridge structure was a plus - the Argus has a retractable chart house, that could be lowered during flight operations! Finally, the last refit in 1936 saw most of its armament removed, meaning that i've got a free hand when it comes to what I arm her with for 1938.

Crew: 400 (vs 1200+ for larger carriers)
Aircraft: 18-20

For the rivet counters, I should probably add at this point, that i'm planning to build something that looks a bit like it, but not an accurate model, down to every last rivet!

As with the Destroyer, the base is 6mm MDF, hull is high density polysterene, and the flight deck will also be 6mm MDF.

Its in 3 sections, for storage, and transport:

Bow Section
The opening a third of the way in from the left would have held a 4" gun before the refit - undecided yet on what will be there. That small dot, on the flight deck about halfway a 28mm figure!

Middle Section
The 4th layer is recessed, on the middle section, to allow for a walkway, there will eventually be plenty of liferafts/girders and other junk in this area.

Stern Section
The will be two cranes underneath the flight deck (where the spray can lid is), which were used to allow seaplanes to be brought on board - underneath the flight deck there is a large open hanger.

Hanger Deck
The carrier will have two hangers - the fore (larger) hanger will be able to accomodate a 1/48th plane, and so is slightly enlarged.